Since birth control pills decrease the production of ovarian androgens, they can be used to treat women's androgenetic alopecia. Keep in mind, however, that the same cautions must be followed whether a woman takes contraceptive pills solely to prevent contraception or to treat female pattern baldness. For example, smokers age 35 and older who take the Pill are at higher risk for blood clots and other serious conditions.
Thinning hair in women is worth investigating for more than its impact on physical appearance. While many conditions that lead to temporary hair loss will go away without treatment or with simple lifestyle measures, others may be signs of potentially irreversible loss or health conditions. Others yet may respond well to treatments to promote regrowth, so starting sooner rather than later is key.

Help hair loss and regrow fuller hair with Women's Rogaine 2% Minoxidil Topical Solution. Ideal for use at the early stages of hair thinning, this fast-working hair loss treatment is specially formulated for women and is clinically proven to regrow up to 25% more hair. Unlike hair loss shampoos and hair thickening products that temporarily plump hair from the outside, Rogaine penetrates the scalp to reactivate shrunken hair follicles. The 2% Minoxidil formula works to boost hair follicle activity and hair protein production, allowing for regrowth of hair. This women’s hair regrowth treatment comes in a topical solution that is easy to use: Simply apply 1 milliliter directly to your scalp twice daily and massage it through your hair. And like all Rogaine products, this thinning hair treatment is designed to fit easily into your daily beauty regimen.
Hair loss is part of the natural aging process but can also be genetic or caused by a medical condition. It’s crucial to choose a treatment that won’t dry out your hair, will give it volume, and will keep your scalp healthy. If hair loss is caused by hereditary baldness, the FDA has approved minoxidil (Rogaine) at 5%, which is available over the counter. Other hair loss treatments for women contain natural ingredients like tea tree oil and flower extracts. Some products need to be used daily, but others can be used less often. Some take weeks to show results while others help hair growth within days. Some hair loss treatments are more suitable for certain types of hair (dry, oily, combination, or colored).
To give yourself a hot oil treatment, massage the oil into your scalp, then apply it all the way to the ends of your strands. Pile your hair on top of your head, cover it with a shower cap, then blast your strands with a blow-dryer for 15 minutes. Feel free to jump in the shower and shampoo and condition as usual—you’ll notice softer strands instantly.
There’s no cure for baldness, but there are ways to hold on to what you've got. The six dermatologists and the clinical studies point to three methods: minoxidil, laser treatments, and prescription finasteride. The key is finding the combination and hair loss regimen that works for you. A doctor is your best bet for that kind of guidance — but we found a few trustworthy products that will work for most people.
Thanks for your response and awesome article! Do you recommend sticking with minoxidil for a period of time (i.e. 6 months) before starting finasteride or do it all at once? I would be on finasteride now if I wasn’t nervous about the potential side effects so my plan was to wait to see if minoxidal does anything for me over the next 3 months or so (at that point I will have been on it ~ 6 months). My shedding has certainly reduced so hopefully it is starting to work. I’m in the very early stages of hair loss. No one would notice (except me and my wife). Just looks my hair part on the top of my head even though it really is thinning.
That’s why I created this guide. I want to help steer you in the right direction. There are many new treatments and possibly even cures on the horizon, but for now, stick to what is proven to work. After all, the best way to treat hair loss is to start managing it early on. It’s much easier to keep your remaining hair compared to growing it back. And worst case scenario, you will slow it down to a degree it may take several years to show any further recession.
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The trick about all of these hair-loss products and treatments is that they’ll stop working as soon as you stop using them. “They have to be ready for a lifetime commitment,” says Rieder. But, just like brushing your teeth, as long you keep on keeping on with the scientifically proven preventative treatments, those hairs on your head should be just fine.
Some treatments in development hold particular promise for women. Angela Christiano, a hair geneticist and Columbia University professor of dermatology, is hoping to begin clinical trials in a year or two on a procedure in which she dissects hair-follicle stem cells, grows them in the lab until she has several million, then injects them into the scalp, where, a very small study done with a human skin model has shown, they induce new hairs.
At the same time you supplement your diet with nutrients for hair growth and treat your scalp to stop hair loss, it’s a good idea to switch to a better shampoo and conditioner. For example, shampoos without sulfates are rapidly gaining in popularity. People now realize that sulfates strip essential oils from their scalp and leave their hair fragile and dry.
Alopecia areata: Researchers believe that this is an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means the body attacks itself. In this case, the body attacks its own hair. This causes smooth, round patches of hair loss on the scalp and other areas of the body. People with alopecia areata are often in excellent health. Most people see their hair re-grow. Dermatologists treat people with this disorder to help the hair re-grow more quickly.

What’s got less evidence supporting its efficacy are the hair-growth shampoos that claim to block DHT (like those sold by Hims in their Rx Hair Kit). Rieder is skeptical that you’re going to see any tangible benefits by rubbing DHT blockers into your scalp. “I find it very difficult to believe that something that’s applied to the scalp and rinsed off is going to have any appreciable effect.” All four doctors also shut down any suggestions that hair-growth supplements or vitamins, like biotin, could help promote hair growth or stop hair loss — though a couple hypothesized that vitamins or supplements could lead to hair regrowth if your hair loss was a result of a nutritional deficiency. But otherwise, if you’re dealing with regular old male-pattern baldness, “There is no such thing as a ‘hair vitamin,’” says McMichael.
"Castor oil will not grow hair," says cosmetic chemist and author Perry Romanowski matter-of-factly. "There is no evidence for it and no scientific theory supporting that it would work, so yes, it's a total myth." In better news, he says that castor oil is not damaging to the hair and can provide some conditioning that improves the flexibility of the hair fiber.
Minoxidil: This medicine is applied to the scalp. It can stop hairs from getting thinner and stimulate hair growth on the top of the scalp. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved minoxidil to treat hair loss. It is the only hair re-growth product approved for men and women. A dermatologist may combine minoxidil with another treatment.
Minoxidil (Rogaine, generic versions). This drug was introduced as a treatment for high blood pressure, but people who took it noticed that they were growing hair in places where they had lost it. Research confirmed that a 2% solution of minoxidil applied directly to the scalp could stimulate hair growth. How it works is still not clear. Two double-blind studies of women ages 18 to 45 demonstrated its effectiveness. In one study, 13% of female minoxidil users had moderate hair growth, and 50%, minimal growth (compared with 6% and 33%, respectively, in the placebo group). In the second study, 60% of women in the minoxidil group reported new hair growth, compared with 40% in the placebo group. As a result of these studies and others, over-the-counter 2% minoxidil is FDA-approved for treating androgenetic alopecia in women.
When it comes to a hair growth shampoo, you have two options: prescriptions or over-the-counter treatments. Prescription shampoos like ketoconazole are anti-androgenetic, meaning they prevent testosterone and dihydrotestosterone (DHT), two hormones associated with hair loss by targeting hair growth at the site of the follicle and helping to interrupt the hormone cycle locally that causes thinning,” explains Dr. Schweiger. “Over-the-counter growth shampoos typically contain amino acids and antioxidants to provide the components to rebuild hair as well as reduce damage and inflammation.”
Other options include microneedling ($1,200 and up per treatment) and platelet-replacement therapy (also $1,200 and up per treatment), which are usually offered in conjunction. Your scalp will be numbed first so you don’t feel the pinpricks involved in microneedling. They promote hair regeneration by spurring wound healing, and platelet-replacement therapy involves injecting growth factors into those wounds. “Combination therapy typically works better than monotherapy and usually yields results after three monthly treatments,” says Sadick, and should be teamed with an at-home minoxidil treatment.
2. Pyrithione zinc shampoo. Traditional volumizing shampoos will give the hair you have a lift so it looks fuller (we like the sulfate-free L’Oréal Paris EverPure Volume Shampoo, $8). But some research suggests shampoos with the antidandruff ingredient zinc pyrithione can mitigate hair loss that’s caused by conditions like dandruff, says Mirmirani. Try Head & Shoulders Deep Moisture Shampoo ($6), and use a conditioner without silicones — they can make hair appear limper, especially if it's applied near the roots (we like Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Water & Mimosa Flower Conditioner, $9).
P.R.P., considered a nonsurgical treatment, is not covered by insurance, and clinical studies about its effectiveness (and longevity of results) are not conclusive because different doctors use different mixes. But P.R.P. has a long (though also inconclusive) history of use elsewhere in the body. Athletes like Kobe Bryant have received the treatment in an attempt to heal injuries.
But you must start these medical therapies before you lose all your hair. McAndrews likens it to brushing your teeth, in that both are preventative measures. “The sooner you start doing it, the better at slowing down this aging process,” he explains, adding, “Is toothpaste perfect? No, you’re still getting tooth decay with toothpaste, but you’re slowing down tooth decay.”
Coconut oil contains fatty acids that penetrate inside the hair shaft and reduce protein loss from hair. Coconut oil can be used either before or after you wash your hair depending on your hair type. If your hair tends to be oily, you can do a leave-in treatment overnight or for a few hours before you wash it. Massage coconut oil into your scalp and all of your hair. If your hair is dry, you can also use it as a leave-in treatment. There needs to be more research on coconut oil as a promoter of hair growth, but it’s been shown to improve the health and luster of hair and has been used for centuries.
Taking hair supplements can be helpful for anyone who is experiencing hair loss or hair thinning. Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Medical Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery in New York City, previously recommended Nutrafol, a research-backed hair supplement, to Prevention. "This uses highly concentrated botanicals to address every stage of the growth cycle," she says. Nutrafol's hair supplements include vitamin E and ashwagandha (an adaptogen that helps balance cortisol levels in the body), among others.
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